Becoming a parent is a huge adjustment. Together, you and your spouse will learn how to care for another human and embark on your greatest adventure yet. Parenthood also brings about more fights. Partners tend to feel less connected, as the mounting dishes and endless hours without sleep.
The fighting doesn’t have to be continuous, and you can find ways to reconnect and get along. Remember, each of you is going through a hard transition, so a lot of forgiveness is required. Here are the five most common new parent fights and how to get along, because you want your relationship to stay strong.
Who is sleeping more?
Newborn babies don’t sleep as much as we would hope. It is easy to start fighting about who gets more sleep. You both are tired, and it is easy to feel as if the other person gets more sleep. Truth be told, there are times when one parent DOES get more sleep, but that doesn’t mean we must fight about it.
Make sure sleep is a priority for everyone. If you get up with the baby early throughout the week, your partner can let you sleep in during the weekend. Each of you needs to get extra sleep. Some parents find it helpful to create a sleep schedule for themselves, but you don’t have to get that specific!
Who does more for the baby?
“I changed FOUR poopy diapers today.”
“ I held the baby for two hours.”
“I bathed the baby the last three times.”
“I cleaned all of the bottles today AND yesterday.”
The list goes on and on. You might want to keep score and tally up what you are doing, but that’s not fair. Both parents pull their weight. Somedays, you might handle more tasks with the baby, but your spouse does more housework.
In the end, you have to remember you are a team. If it helps, make a list of things that need done for the day and divide it up. You can also set certain days for baths with each partner to equally rotate the task.
Lack of sex
Once you have the good-to-go sign from your doctor, your partner might hope you guys can jump right back in bed. That isn’t always the case. It is easy NOT to feel in the mood after you spent all day with spit up, poopy diapers, and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding decreases your sex drive.
During this time, communicate your feelings, but make sure you don’t make your partner feel unwanted. Cuddle, offer massages, hug and kiss. You can also take time to cuddle at night together, which may put you in the mood. A little bit of wine helps as well.
Some couples find it helpful to schedule sex. Yes, it sounds strange, but sex and physical affection is a love language. It helps couples feel loved and connected. You might find that you communicate better once you have sex on a regular basis again.
When each of you is working hard throughout the day, it is easy to feel underappreciated. One or both of you might work out of the home. No matter the circumstances, you might start to feel as if your partner doesn’t appreciate all of the work you do.
“He didn’t even notice that I made his favorite dinner.”
“She never thanks me for everything that I do throughout the day.”
Add in postpartum hormones, and it is a recipe for disaster. You might feel like everything you do around the house and for the new baby goes unnoticed. However, it typically goes both ways.
The best thing to do is let your spouse know that you feel a bit unappreciated, but it has to go both ways. Make sure you say thank you here and there for the things he or she does around the house. Compliment the dinner he cooked that evening. Express your gratitude for the awaiting pot of coffee when you woke up in the morning. It doesn’t have to be constant, but you should appreciate your partner if you want to be appreciated as well!
Now that you are a new parent, there is a chance your partner may have different ideas about parenting styles. Everyone grows up differently or has different plans for their parenting. You may not agree with your partner. You might disagree about:
- Education styles
- Crying it out
That is just a few things you might not agree with each other, but you can work it out together. Find resources to read together about the pros and cons of each side. Try to come into these decisions unbiased and face them together. Don’t look at it like you want to prove the other person wrong. Parenting requires give and take of each person. You will find a happy medium together.